April 3, 2014
Prior to the opening round of the SUPER GT 2014 to be held at Okayama International Circuit this weekend, the Nissan teams gathered at NISMO HQ in Tsurumi, Yokohama to hold a kick off ceremony. This SUPER GT kick off ceremony has become an annual custom held at the beginning of the season where drivers and team principals talk about their enthusiasm and ambitions in front of all the NISMO staff who worked on the development of the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 and NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 being used in competition. Participating in this kick off ceremony were NISMO, TEAM IMPUL, KONDO RACING and the MOLA who will be competing in the GT500, along with the team principal and all drivers from NDDP RACING with B-MAX who will take part in the GT300.
At the beginning of the ceremony, NISMO CEO Shoichi Miyatani boisterously greeted everyone saying, “This year we will be competing with an all new GT500 car, but if you look back at our history up till now, its situations like this in which Nissan tends to come out on top. This isn't just mere luck. This comes from the fact that we studiously develop and operate our machines. I sincerely hope that everyone combines their strengths, displays their abilities and, at the end of the year, cheerfully celebrates victory.” Following this, each team was introduced and their team principal and drivers each expressed their passion and aspirations. Returning to NISMO after a 7 year absence, Matsuda Tsugio, who will be driving the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, said “I would sincerely like to thank everyone involved in development who produced such a wonderful car. I myself, having returned to NISMO, keenly feel a sense of responsibility. I like to think that we've poured our heart and soul into this car and will give it our all.” Following this, Ronnie Quintarelli expressed a message directly to the development team in fluent Japanese, “I'm sure this car will continue to evolve in the future. To achieve this we need the passion and abilities of everyone here. I hope you continue to support us.”
In preparation for the ceremony, NISMO heads, beginning from CEO Miyatani and executive team director Kunihiko Kakimoto, visited Shinagawa shrine and prayed for each team's success. Following on from this, every team principal was presented with a charm received from the shrine which was instilled with a prayer for victory and safety. Lastly CVP Toshikazu Tanaka closed off the ceremony by leading everyone in a cheer of “[the] Champion[ship], its ours!.”
Every Nissan team will now begin loading their vehicles, tools, racing equipment, etc. into their transporters and make way for Okayama International Circuit.